– Most of the nine nurses and seven physicians the team interviewed were at home when the attack occurred. When these clinicians responded to the attack, they found “a large number of ill or deceased persons lying in the street without external signs of injury.”
– The team made painstaking efforts to document its work. All the interviews were taped, and all the samples were sealed and guarded from the moment of collection to their delivery to the four laboratories in Europe where tests were conducted to determine whether toxic substances were present.
The report provided a detailed listing of the samples, including the date and time each was taken, as well as from where: in one case, a “soil sample taken from one impact point in one house in Moadamiyah”; in another, “a methanol wipe sample taken from the sole of a slipper.”
“Each transfer of material is accompanied by a handover receipt,” the report notes.
– The inspectors also were able to explain how the sarin gas arrived in Ghouta that cool night.
In Moadamiyah, “The team began the investigation of an alleged impact site which was initially located in the backyard terrace of an apartment building.”
There, the team found an impact crater in the stone tiles of the terrace. Near the crater, they found a rocket engine marked with Cyrillic letters. Despite the fact that such lettering could implicate Russia as the supplier, the report makes no such assumptions. Instead, it notes the projectile’s light gray color, and documents the exact size – 630 mm long and 140 mm wide (24.8 by 5.5 inches) – and type, an M14 artillery shell, a non-precision surface to surface rocket.
“The engine had 10 jet nozzles ordered in a circle at the end of the rocket with a metal electrical contact plate in the middle,” the report said.
At one impact site, the team found that a rocket had pierced an awning before hitting the ground. By studying the line that would connect the hole in the awning with the impact crater, the investigators determined the rocket’s bearing – 35 degrees – and its angle of flight. A second impact crater 65 meters away – about 213 feet – had an angle that was 1 degree different from the first, a discovery “fully congruent,” the report said, “with the dispersion pattern commonly associated with rockets launched from a single, multi-barrel, launcher.”
In the case of another shell, a 330 mm rocket, they calculated that it flew east-southeast before landing in the Damascus suburb.
To study the area, the inspection team’s members – who dodged a sniper’s bullets on their first day – had to rely on the protection of both the Syrian government and a Syrian rebel leader. They said they had only a short time to study the sites, because of security concerns.
Still, Secretary-General Ban said the evidence the team had collected provided proof of “the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them in Halabja in 1988. The international community has pledged to prevent any such horror from recurring, yet it has happened again.”
But the closest the report comes to emotion is the final line before the appendices:
“This result leaves us with the deepest concern.”